Austin Reaves of the LA Lakers is becoming an above average NBA player. He was undrafted in the 2021 NBA before signing with the Lakers. As its production shows, it was a smart move by Los Angeles. Many think they haven’t made many big moves lately, but Reaves was definitely one of them.
The way Reaves plays is not the same as most players. He’s not the most athletic guy, but he makes plays and does what he has to do to be productive. This season, he’s averaging 11.3 points per game while shooting 53.1% from the field, 40% from 3-point range and 90.4% from the free throw line. Finishing with these splits would put him in the elite 50/40/90 society.
However, Reaves realizes he has to play in a different way, joking the following in an interview with The Orange County Register. The comment was about him talking about guys like James Harden and Rajon Rondo.
“I wish I could dunk it all, but I can’t,” Reaves said.
When asked how he improved his shooting, Reaves explained how his new shot made him feel much better:
“Just a bit of emphasis was really getting my ‘end to end’ following,” he told SCNG. “Instead of pushing it, really snapping the wrist and holding it, staying in the shots was the goal. But in the end, it was just being in the gym every day, a few times a day to repeat it.
Averaging 11.3 points per game while playing 29.5 minutes per game might not impress many, but that’s what Reaves does on both sides of the basketball. The scoring average is no slouch either, and Reaves explained how he was starting to become a top scorer.
“I don’t feel like I have to get into the paint and force the stuff,” he said. “I can reach the paint, use fake shots, reach the free throw line, make plays. I never want to be one-dimensional, so the pictures I take in the painting are really good. These are never really super hard shots.
Austin Reaves becomes a key player for the Lakers
Austin Reaves is a 24 year old. However, Lakers players and coaches continue to praise the work he has done. Coach Darvin Ham said he has his confidence, which is a big word considering he’s coached Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
“He has all my faith and the faith of our coaching staff,” Ham said, “in the sense that every time he’s in the game and he’s got the ball in his hands, he’s going to do the good play on both sides of the ball.”
Davis, who is widely considered one of the best players in the NBA when healthy, also spoke highly of Reaves. One thing that’s important to Reaves is learning from the players he plays with, and Davis said he does just that.
“He’s playing amazing for us,” Davis said. “He constantly asks all the older guys questions, and he really wants to improve. He watches a movie and admits his mistakes.”